Texas Lawmakers File a Bill to Keep the Longhorns From Leaving the Big 12
In a symbolic move, the Texas Legislature have filed a bill to block the University of Texas from joining the Southeastern Conference.
According to the Texas Tribune, a few lawmakers in Texas have put forth legislation that would prohibit colleges and universities from moving from one athletic conference to another without approval of the Texas Legislature.
Rep. Dustin Burrows, R-Lubbock, has co-authored House Bill 298 but it is purely symbolic since the bill is unrelated to anything Gov. Abbott has on the agenda for the special session and is just to show the authors of the bill's displeasure with UT trying to move to the SEC.
If it was added to the special session, it would still go nowhere since Texas Democrats are in Washington to block voter suppression bills introduced by the governor.
Rep. Burrows stated that Texas universities play a significant role in their regions as far as economic development and tourism.
“A decision to switch to a different athletic conference affects the opportunity and stability of our publicly-funded universities across the state and must be fully vetted in the most transparent and comprehensive manner possible,” he said.
Rep. Jeff Leach, R-Plano, met in Gov. Abbott's office last Thursday, July 22, 2021 to discuss their objections to the move out of the Big 12.
“The effects could be devastating,” Leach wrote in a statement released on Friday. “Such important decisions must not be made by a select few behind closed doors, nor should they be unduly impacted by out-of-state interests who have little care or concern for the people of Texas.”
If you are wondering if the legislature can prohibit a university or college to change conference affiliation, they can, so we will see how this all pans out with the other legislative issues that are currently waiting for votes in the Texas Legislature.